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User surveys guide soft-start and inverter designs
Published:  01 June, 2003

User surveys guide soft-start and inverter designs

The motor controls specialist SIEI used this month`s Drives & Controls Show in Birmingham to unveil several new and enhanced ranges, some of which have yet to be launched by its Italian parent company in its home market.

One of the new arrivals was novel family of soft-starts which incorporate a starter, soft-start, contactor, isolator and emergency stop in an IP55 enclosure. The range was developed following a survey of more than 800 UK users who were asked what they were looking for in a soft-start. According to SIEI`s Neill Drennan, there was an overwhelming demand for a starter that was simple to set up, and which brought together all of the functions needed for motor starting.

The new soft-start, which has taken a year to develop, incorporates nine preset configurations which the user selects via a switch. The presets include pumps, light and heavy conveyors, high and low inertia fans, and two types of compressor. The IP55 enclosure means that the soft-starts can be mounted next to the motor they are controlling.

Drennan says that the new soft-starts cost less than £10 more than a standard device, and he expects them to establish themselves rapidly as "de facto industry standard fittings".

In another survey, SIEI asked more than 3,000 drives users worldwide what they wanted from their drives and has incorporated the findings in an enhanced version of its AGy range of space vector AC inverters. The most obvious change is the inclusion of a two-line text display, allowing the drives to be programmed in English rather than code. The revamped drives cover ratings from 5.5-130kW.

SIEI has also redesigned its Quix family of compact drives, making them even smaller and offering torque vector control as standard, instead of the previous basic voltage/frequency controls. The range includes single-phase models up to 2.2kW and three-phase versions up to 4kW.

Finally, SIEI unveiled a new servo drive which has an on-board simulated PLC which allows it to control and monitor not only the drive, but also external devices such as switches, alarms and displays. Unlike SIEI`s earlier servo drives, which were rack-mounting, the new XVy motion controller has a similar format to the company`s AGy and AVy inverters.

The drive offers a choice of communications including CANopen, ModBus, DeviceNet, and Profibus DP and can be configured to operate in various modes including torque, speed, position and electric line shaft controls. It can adapt to almost any type of feedback device, including SinCos encoders. The range covers continuous ratings from 3-280A.

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